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Section 3: Material Selection


The mission of the Addison Public Library guides the selection of materials. 

The mission of the Addison Public Library is to foster a love of reading, to promote lifelong learning and to provide recreational resources. 

To support this mission, qualified staff select, organize, and make accessible materials to create a high-use, popular materials collection that reflects the interests and needs of Addison Public Library cardholders. 


  • To provide a popular materials collection that reflects the needs, various interests, abilities, and learning styles of Addison Public Library cardholders. 
  • To choose materials which support the informational, cultural, educational, and recreational needs of the community. 
  • To actively collect multicultural material in all formats to provide a diverse collection. 
  • To acquire material to support ESL/ELL students, the new immigrant population, citizenship seekers, and new Americans. 
  • To provide lifelong learning opportunities, stimulate self-understanding, enhance job-related skills, and make available entertaining reading, listening, and viewing materials. 
  • To provide resources which support the industrial and business activities in the community. 
  • To acquire selectively, materials representing differing viewpoints and covering a broad range of topics. 
  • To select items impartially and judiciously, allocating materials budgets based on circulation, cost, and objectives of collection development. 
  • To acquire standard works, classics, and popular titles for representative coverage. 
  • To provide duplicate copies of materials in heavy demand. The number of reserves and inquiries is considered as well as media promotions. 

Responsibility for Selection and Weeding 

Ultimate responsibility for material selection rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. 

Based on their knowledge of the community’s needs and the scope of the collection, Collection Development Specialists, under the supervision of the Collection Development Manager and the Head of Materials Management, select materials and do continuous weeding to keep the collection up-to-date and attractive. 

Context and Scope of the Collection 

  • The Scope for the majority of the Library collection is to be a popular and actively used collection. 
  • Materials selected include a variety of formats. New formats are considered for purchase when they are established nationally and a significant number of local households have the necessary equipment to make use of the format. In addition, consideration is given to the cost and the Library’s ability to obtain, maintain, and house the format. Formats no longer in demand may be phased out. 
  • Formats include:
    • Print—books, magazines, newspapers 
    • Non-print—audio and visual media 
    • Electronic—informational databases, and downloadable and streaming text, audio, and video content 
    • Other—objects, equipment, and information stored using other methods 
  • School and academic libraries have primary responsibility for providing materials to their students. The Library accepts responsibility for providing students with supplementary reading materials. 
  • The Library encourages the examination of diverse opinions; thus various points of view are included in the collections. Materials selected will not be determined by pressure from outside groups and organizations; rather the Library will apply established professional standards in the selection and retention of its resources. 
  • The Library Board of Trustees supports the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements, and Students’ Right to Read of the National Council of Teachers of English. The Library recognizes that materials which offend or shock one reader may be considered meaningful or significant by others. 
  • Anyone who pays taxes to support the Addison Public Library or who is eligible for a Library card issued by the Addison Public Library has the right to question the inclusion of an item in the collection after reading this selection policy. Patrons filing formal objections to material read, viewed, or listened to in its entirety should follow the Statement of Concern policy in Section 7.4. 


Tools used for selection include: reviews from reputable sources, such as professional journals, trade journals, subject bibliographies, and media promotions. Selection of print, non-print, and electronic resources does not constitute an endorsement of the content or views expressed. 

General selection criteria for print and non-print materials include one or more of the following criteria for items selected for the Addison Public Library Collection: 

  • Customer suggestions and demand 
  • Accuracy, currency, and objectivity 
  • Authority or popularity of the author, publisher, producer, or series 
  • Clarity and readability 
  • Comparison to other materials owned in the subject area 
  • Quality (literary merit, awards, or artistic value) 
  • Need or value to the existing collection 
  • Price 
  • Suitability of physical format for Library use 
  • Relevance to community needs 
  • Attention given to the item by reviewers and general news media 
  • Scarcity of material on the subject 
  • Space limitations 
  • Suitability of content for age level 
  • Technical quality of materials 

Each item is judged as a whole. The Collection Development Specialists select materials for children, teens, and adults. Duplication of material between the Children’s Services, Teen Services, and Adult Services Departments may occur. It is the responsibility of parents or guardians to monitor and supervise the child’s choice of reading materials. 

Electronic Resources include digital media, subscription databases, and the Internet. Public access computers and wireless access are provided with filtering software to limit access to websites that could be considered inappropriate as well as to protect against computer viruses. Use of filtering software, however, is not a guarantee that all sites which users might find inappropriate have been blocked. The Library’s Public Computer and Internet Use Policy is considered part of this policy. 

The criteria for the selection of subscription databases and digital media are 

  • Customer demand 
  • Remote access 
  • Hardware compatibility 
  • Database capabilities 
  • Manufacturer’s support
  • Update frequency 
  • Copyright and licensing agreements 
  • Extent to which an electronic resource replaces, supplements, or extends other formats 
  • Qualifications of the producer 
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audience 
  • Ease of use 
  • Currency or timeliness 
  • Price 
  • Attention given to the resource by reviewers and general news media 
  • Technical quality 
  • Vendors’ ability to comply with the Library’s privacy standards 

Collection Maintenance 

Systematic and continuous weeding contributes to a better circulating and up-to-date collection. Materials are withdrawn on a systematic and continual basis according to the following criteria. In general, the same criteria for the selection of materials apply to deselection. Materials that fall into the following categories may be withdrawn: 

  • Seldom used titles 
  • Multiple copies that are no longer circulating 
  • Space considerations 
  • Superseded editions or formats 
  • Condition: Items that are worn, soiled, aged, badly marked, or in disrepair 
  • Outdated or inaccurate information 

Withdrawn items are sold to benefit the Library or responsibly disposed of. Personal requests for such items cannot be honored. 


The Library does not routinely replace all lost, damaged, or worn items. The number of copies in the collection, existing coverage of the subject field, contemporary material of greater value, availability of item and public demand are all considered before a replacement purchase is made.